If you read yesterday’s post then you will know that I recommended that you take the alternative route when leaving Virgin del Camino; the standard route follows a very uninspiring main road and I wished I had taken the alternative route again as I did last summer. Either way, both paths connect at Hospital de Orbigo and it is here that you will also find many albergue sleeping options. The town seems to be a decent-ish stopover:
I arrived in the early afternoon and wasn’t ready yet to settle for the day, so I opted to continue walking onwards in the direction of Astorga. Since leaving the Meseta the landscape has changed and I took the following photos (including the post photo) under the strong afternoon sun and on my way from Hospital de Orbigo:
There is one part of the walk where you descend and then ascend steeply and it is after the ascend that you will gradually make out the outline of a building, and then – as you walk closer – you will have the good fortune to bump into David:
David, from Barcelona originally, has lived at this spot on the Camino for the past 5 years and runs a donativo cafe for pilgrims who would like to stop for a while for a bite to eat or to quench a thirst. Coming up over my ascend I spotted this little oasis and stopped for a while to chat with David, over a cup of water and a few hard-boiled eggs. We briefly discussed life and philosophy. It’s a great little hippie spot on the Camino and the vibe is extremely positive. I said my goodbyes to David and wondered as I walked on whether he was behind the artwork you see soon after on the way:
Just before you reach the town of Astorga, you walk through the village of San Justo de la Vega.
On the right hand side you have the option of staying at a donativo albergue:
The address is calle Real 61, and it is next to the pharmacy.
Provided are a bed, meal, breakfast, (warm) shower, and washing machine.
The rooms were clean (although the kitchen wasn’t completely to my liking) and I had a wonderful sleep:
The owner is very helpful and friendly, and there isn’t any pressure to make your donativo payment when you leave; there is a donativo box in the living room if you have the money to contribute. This is in stark contrast to the other “donativo” albergue on the same street (different side) where the owner let me know that there was a set fee of 5 Euro for his “donativo”.
I will now walk the remaining few kilometres to Astorga.